I’ve known John Glaze (j.e.glaze) four or five years now, and the man never ceases to amaze me with his talent. His photographic images take me back to an era when life was both simpler and, at the same time, more difficult. As a fiction writer, I can always imagine a story from his images. His poetry stirs me in that primordial spot in our souls we all share with ancient beings we call the Ancestors. One of the great privileges I’ve been offered as a writer was the opportunity to write the introduction to his poetry collection when it was published last year.
Here, then, is John Glaze’s take on inspiration:
Inspiration isn’t something I generally look for, although I have at times, during an extremely dry spell, lain in the dark on my bed and said to the darkness, “Inspire me.” I’m not sure if I’m talking to entities, muses, the darkness, or to myself, really. maybe all or none of the above. Sometimes it feels like I must have been speaking to the ceiling fan or the spider hanging in the corner.
The images of earth and sex inspire me. Maybe because I see birth and death in both. They are excellent metaphors for interchange, and life, and metamorphosis.
here, on your bed,
I lay myself upon you
with gentlest of full-
mouthed and searching kisses
’neath bower of night
sky and tree-form shadows
wrap your earthy legs around
pull me in the rest of the way,
this form of moon and night
I write out of my vision, or lack of. Always, I want to go some place or form some idea that is new. I rarely read a book twice. I try not to stay in the same level of thinking for very long, because I know that wherever I am as far as ideas, or realization, or compassion, or whatever, it’s just the latest layer of the onion. There are many layers left to go. Numberless layers in all directions.
I suppose I’m inspired by words I’ve never used, or of which I’ve not heard. I write them down in my journal, which I keep with me at all times. Lines and ideas in books. Ways in which someone says things which are totally new to me. Bizarre metaphors. Lines in movies. Images in movies. I like dark and gritty books and movies. Southern gothic, etc. The twist of a phrase. “I never saw a wild thing feel sorry for itself.” D.H.Lawrence lines like that are so simple, and they send me. Hughes’ Moonlight Carmel.
Sparity. I’m not so much inspired by sparity, but I like it when I see it. Simple. Uncluttered. Earth tone. Not direct, but hidden just under the surface. Bukowski in overalls. Things that make you wonder.
look inside, there you are:
wrapped in a blanket of
I present images and sounds, and the pauses between do the work. Ideas are secondary. situations and scenes, to which interpretation is left to the reader.
Space and darkness. I don’t take photos of objects. I capture the space in the scene. I don’t take photos of light, but of the darkness around it. Of course, you can’t have one without the other. One is there because of the other. One IS the other. Darkness is part of the light, and space is part of the object. Vice-versa. It’s all one. I walk at night. It’s the best of both darkness and space because all the other sensory stimuli are greatly limited.
“Ugly beauty.” That’s the kind of oxymoron I like. A conundrum that fits. Thelonious Monk wrote a song by that name, and it fits. He kept a kind of rough catalogue of people’s musical mistakes, written down, and he used them as fodder for his songs. He would sit down and play them and figure them out, and use them. Now that is beautiful and inspiring.
Nature. Nature inspires me. I suppose because it’s honest. Created objects aren’t always honest, it seems to me. It depends. I have a turtle shell on my wall that my daughter gave to me—a three-toed box turtle. It’s just the carapace, brown, and smooth, and scarred. You can see where a horse or steer stepped on it and injured it. It’s beautiful and honest. That inspires me. And wind. And the night. Maybe because they aren’t so visual or tactile. You can hear and feel the wind, but you can’t hold it or see it. You can see the night coming on, and feel it’s coolness, but you can’t put it in a can on a shelf. It’s transient and can’t be contained by people. Maybe that’s it. They’re like a bridge between what we call the physical and the other planes of existence, or whatever one might label it all. There’s so much more right here that we can’t sense with our senses.
ornate box turtle
there is a special place where
I stay, in the tall grass
near a stone. I dig-in
and cover myself
with thin layers of loess.
there I hide. there I sleep
beneath soil, shell, and spine,
sleeping in my secret shy wisdom,
hiding, knowing away in
this quiet corner of glade.
when the moment stirs my quiet, I shed
soil, and slowly wander into the sun, skirt
the sun, travel by a stream,
bask in my zen.
Red ochre, iron oxide, rust, whatever you want to call it. I have a friend who calls this one color “Badlands red.” That;s about the finest color on earth.
I have a desire to sense beyond my senses. That inspires me. Everything else is old hat and boring. In general. No insult intended to those who like old hat. I’d rather have an old one than a new one any day as long as it fits.
Oh, eyes and hands. They are honest. People may not always be so, but eyes and hands tell the tale.
That’s about it.
Oh, and love. Compassion. Plenty of that in nature, too. I’m learning to capture it on film.
garden not in
silence, for a
rose grows not in a
soundless world, but in an existence
where sound is not perceived
yet, it’s possible
that it might be perceived,
even conceived, though
merely unheard, and sight is
haunt your roses
j.e.glaze writes from the plains of Oklahoma where the stark beauty has influenced his view of life. He writes free verse poetry and takes photos of nature and abandoned farm houses. He collects bird’s nests. He has a lovely daughter, two dogs, and a cat. He moves turtles off the road to provide them safe passage. He has been included in Nature’s Gifts, Vanilla Heart Publishing’s 2010 Earth Day Anthology; and has published one book of poetry, A Year in the Life of Empty—poems. You can find him on WordPress at http://jeglaze.wordpress.com/.
Next Week: Author Malcolm R. Campbell